In many of the facilities at which the CSB investigates, incidents are not covered by the OSHA PSM rule or the EPA RMP rule. In some cases, the CSB finds that existing consensus codes and standards, if properly applied, might have prevented or mitigated the incident. The difficulty lies in communicating the responsibility of engineers in these facilities to consult and apply such standards when there is no clear-cut regulatory requirement to do so.
The PSM and RMP rules both require facility owners to document that their equipment complies with Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices, known by the acronym RAGAGEP. However, no other OSHA or EPA rule specifically assigns responsibility for RAGAGEP compliance. OSHA's General Duty Clause can be used to enforce the RAGAGEP standards, only when OSHA can establish that the employer could reasonably be expected to be aware of the hazard.
This article examines the available literature, state licensing laws, and published codes of ethics for engineers, to establish a citable link between the engineer at a “non-covered” facility and the responsibility to adhere to RAGAGEPs. © 2007 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog 26, 2007